Funding biomass fuels may be a hurdle

From the Fairbanks Daily Newsminer July 19, 2008

Proponents of a plant that would make liquid fuels out of coal say such a facility could be the solution to high energy costs in Fairbanks and Interior villages.

However, a financial specialist warned that private-sector financing will be hard to find without some government assistance, either as cash, loan guarantees or off-take agreements.

The borough and Fairbanks Economic Development Corporation have proposed building a plant that would produce between 20,000 and 40,000 barrels of liquid fuel a day from coal and biomass — a plant that would probably cost at least several billion dollars.

High-ranking officials from the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Air Force, as well as more local players, gathered Friday in Fairbanks to discuss how to fast-track a biomass and coal-to-liquids facility. They heard from seven speakers representing pieces of the project.

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